As promised in the editorial, here is everything we know regarding the defacing of posters with Nazi graffiti. The story that we published in subtext 166 refers to three separate incidents in the Sociology Department over the summer. We understand that all of the incidents took place in the evening after lockdown, suggesting it was someone with access to the department. Nobody knows who did this and there appears to be no connection between the three incidents. Security were informed and there were no further incidents. Those whose doors were targeted were postgraduate students, two of whom have subsequently left Lancaster (upon completing their studies, not as far as we know owing to the graffiti).
We understand that there have been incidents of posters being defaced with Nazi nasties for quite a while – certainly more than just this summer.
It was in April when the first incidence of hate-fuelled graffiti were brought to the Sociology Department’s attention by a couple of PhD students. A few posters with references to terrorism were taken down, after being graffitied with comments like ‘Bomb them all’.
After raising this matter with the Head of Sociology and the doctoral directors it was agreed to take it ‘higher’. A meeting took place with two Bowland Assistant Deans, who suggested that little could be done. This may in part be because College Deaneries are not responsible for academic departments, so it is not clear why they were contacted in the first place. University House was contacted and asked for a public notice regarding the policies on hate speech to go out but, as far as we know, this wasn’t done. This starkly contrasts with the actions of other universities such as Exeter and Cambridge, whose VCs or spokespeople issued public statements condemning such behaviour after similar incidents earlier this year.
It is frustrating that there has been no broad denouncement at Lancaster of this sort of behaviour. Tensions are running high on an international scale, and even if it is sadly no longer surprising to see growing support for fascistic ideals, we must treat each incident with equal rejection.